Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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How to Install Laminate Flooring on a Concrete Slab


I’m installing a floating laminate floor on a concrete slab. Do I need to be concerned about moisture? -Gerald

Hi Gerald,

Excessive moisture is definitely a concern with laminate flooring on any subfloor, but particularly when installing it on a concrete slab. Before installing laminate flooring on a concrete slab, test the concrete first to be sure it’s dry enough:

  • A new concrete slab should have cured for a minimum of 30 days before installing any type of flooring, including laminate.
  • Before installing laminate flooring on a new or existing concrete slab, test the slab with a moisture meter to be sure it has no more than a 4.5% moisture reading.
  • Another (less accurate) way to test the moisture in a concrete slab is by taping an 18” x 18” piece of plastic to the concrete on all four sides, then allow the plastic to remain in place for 48 to 72 hours. If there is moisture under the plastic or it feels damp underneath, the slab has too high a moisture content to install a laminate floor.

If the concrete slab is dry enough to install laminate flooring:

  • Read and follow all instructions that came with your laminate flooring.
  • Fill in any low spots in the slab with floor patch compound and allow the compound to set.
  • Cover the concrete floor with a sheet of 6 mil plastic to act as a vapor barrier.
  • Lay foam sheeting on top of the plastic, if recommended by the maker of your laminate flooring.
  • Place the laminate flooring cartons in the room and allow the flooring to acclimate to the humidity in the room for 2-4 days before installing.
  • When installing the flooring, leave a 1/4” gap on all sides of the laminate floor to allow for expansion.

Good luck with your project,


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11 Comments on “How to Install Laminate Flooring on a Concrete Slab”

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  1. david murphy Says:
    December 27th, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    concrete slab is in the livingroom and dinningroom in the dinning area at one side of the wall you can see that the slab floor has drop down from the molding 1/2 inch //some one told me that would get a contracter to drill holes and they pump concrete in the holes to rise the floor ????? why dont i just put some quick dry down my self

  2. Ann Tillman Says:
    August 10th, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    We have a home that is built on a concrete slab and we have vinyl laminate flooring. Our builder didn’t put down a vapor barrier, only the rolled out foam sheeting. We have buckling on our floors now. The builder says it’s because of my husbands wheelchair. I think it’s because of the underlayment. Who’s correct?

  3. William Aguirre Says:
    November 10th, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I removed tile from a concrete slab. the surface is not smooth, but is leveled. big holes were patched, small holes were left untouched. Do I still need to use a self leveling mix to make a very smooth surface before installing laminate floor??, or, can I use it as-is??

  4. Miles Says:
    December 7th, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I have a concrete floor that does have too much moisture content. I have installed a dehumidifier to help with it. If I put down thick plastic, can I install laminate or the vinyl floating floor?

  5. Charles Oldendorf Says:
    February 11th, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Concrete is very picky , as a roofer and water proofer for 52 years concrete can be dry in one season and damp or wet in another , concrete seeps some water , enough to damage wood , Seal floors with concrete primer and a more durable coating over the top if theres a moisture problem ( only when concrete is dry ) this will take care of most moisture problems after that follow manufactures recommendations as to applying product , glue down , use there compatible glue , the wrong glue could be very costly , solid hard wood ( use lath strips ) it allows a space for moisture vapors to escapes and leaving a 1/2 , 3/4 in gap around outside edge ! Moisture will wreck any wood in time !

  6. Debra Hogan Says:
    February 14th, 2015 at 4:35 am

    “Creaking Laminate”? We purchased 10mm laminate and had it professionally installed by a Home Improvement Store contractor. They tested the floor for moisture and said we did not need the barrier. We purchased the best pad for sound and were told it had a moisture barrier on the bottom. Laminate was acclimated to room, space left around perimeter,leveling done with concrete in low areas. It has been a month and the floor is creaky almost everywhere. The product was rated Medium Commercial traffic. We had the installer and an independent inspector come and they said it was the product. It has high ratings online and no complaints of noise. They put the laminate on top of our tile and it produced the same noise. We have it in all living areas and they will move furniture and repeat the process. I am fearful to get another laminate. It is extremely stressful to think of repeating this process. What do you think is the cause?

  7. Bert Says:
    March 14th, 2015 at 5:47 am

    Does anyone ever get an answer on here?

  8. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 14th, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Hi Bert,
    The comment section under each of our posts is for visitors to leave a comment, it is not intended as a question and answer forum. If you have a home improvement question you would like answered, you can call our radio show hotline at (800) 946-4420 or submit it online at http://www.todayshomeowner.com/radio/ask-questions/ If your question is answered on the show, you will receive an email directing you to the show online so you can listen to the answer. Thank you for your interest!

  9. joseph dorsett Says:
    July 5th, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Good Day,
    I believe a “concrete slab” does not react the same as a basement concrete floor when it comes to moisture. I would like to install my wood laminate over a basement concrete floor using plastic vapor barrier then the wood laminate with no backing. None of the comments refer to a basement concrete floor.
    Thank You

  10. Henry Says:
    July 7th, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    should I install laminate flooring on my basement concrete floor with foam backing with a vapour barrier or without a vapour barrier?

  11. saurabh pare Says:
    September 29th, 2015 at 8:46 am

    hi i am Saurabh Pare from India..
    i was thinking about why not to laminate the floor with the molten polythene (plastic)…
    it will also help to get rid of (plastic) and it would not be noisy too… and if it could be transparent,,, the color of the floor will also not get affected.

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